Personal anchor for protection while clipping a bolt above ?


Original Post
Serge Smirnov · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 150

It's not uncommon for bolts to be placed such that the most comfortable stance for clipping is from below.  The amount of slack needed to clip can be concerning, especially on the 2nd or 3rd bolt.

I would think an easy mitigation would be to clip the personal anchor to the quickdraw before pulling up the rope.  But I can't recall ever seeing it, so I wonder if I am missing some downsides.

The caveats I see:

 - anything more than 1-2 inches of slack would be bad (I might opt to just hang while clipping)

 - won't work if the bolt is to the side (as opposed to above)

 - belayer needs to be made aware, so they don't feed slack too early

 - the right length of PAS needs to be measured out in advance

 - forgetting to unclip the PAS and falling would be disastrous

Other than that, would anyone see safety concerns with this method ?  Better ideas ?

(My context is returning to leading after an ankle fracture, so I want to minimize the length of potential falls)

Michael McNutt · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 0

Climb up to the piece and clip at your waist.  If you blow it at the bolt, you will fall less distance than if you took a huge loop of rope to clip below.  

Reasons not to connect to the piece are:

1) you crowd the bolt and create a cluster which could have been avoided by just clipping normally.  

2) it's in poor style, and takes more time.  

caughtinside · · Oakland CA · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 1,415

either waist clip or get a really long stick clip that lets you clip bolts 2 or 3 from the ground.

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 12,639
Serge Smirnov wrote:

Better ideas ?

(My context is returning to leading after an ankle fracture, so I want to minimize the length of potential falls)

Just clip the rope.  If you can fiddle a PAS into a draw and still leave room to clip the rope, then, just clip the rope.  

Maybe stick to routes you find comfortable to lead for awhile until your head gets straight.

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 200
Serge Smirnov wrote:

Other than that, would anyone see safety concerns with this method ?  Better ideas ?

(My context is returning to leading after an ankle fracture, so I want to minimize the length of potential falls)

Or climbing with double ropes and get a belayer who knows how to properly belay with doubles. But a stick clip is much cheaper with less of a learning curve.

LukeDunk · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 45

I agree, best strategy is to keep climbing and clip at your waist. I am also a wimp, and understand how ankle injuries get in your head. Sometimes you're over slabby or otherwise "no-fall" terrain where you just can't make yourself commit. 

So I think this is a decent backup strategy, but would consider:


1. Use a Purcell Prussik instead of a PAS
   - easily adjustable length without unclipping your carabiner
   - Likely to slide in a fall, providing more shock absorbing ability than a static PAS

2. Clip the draw you are expecting to use to the bolt first, then clip the Purcell to it.
   - Could clip the upper carabiner (perhaps faster and easier)
   - Could clip the webbing loop below the upper biner if your draw allows (may be safer and avoids metal on metal)

3. I agree, don't forget to unclip the tether before climbing on! That would be bad.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 45

Just toprope.

mstolorena · · Shelby, NC · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 95

One thing I have done a few times where do not want all the extra slack out above my head is to have a draw already clipped to the rope (do this just before the high clip at a safe stance) but leave the bolt end carabiner on my gear or belay loop (obviously make sure your draw or sling is long enough so if you do fall you do not yank your gear loop thus spilling gear down the route). Climb on as you would to clip at waist level. When get to bolt, quickly unclip draw from gear loop and clip the bolt. At this point you are at least clipped and would only potentially have to make sure the biners are oriented correctly or not back clipped. Never seen anyone else do it or know if its a thing, but the couple times I have done it, saves me one less step when pumped. 

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 0
Serge Smirnov wrote:

It's not uncommon for bolts to be placed such that the most comfortable stance for clipping is from below.  The amount of slack needed to clip can be concerning, especially on the 2nd or 3rd bolt.

I would think an easy mitigation would be to clip the personal anchor to the quickdraw before pulling up the rope.  But I can't recall ever seeing it, so I wonder if I am missing some downsides.

The caveats I see:

 - anything more than 1-2 inches of slack would be bad (I might opt to just hang while clipping)

 - won't work if the bolt is to the side (as opposed to above)

 - belayer needs to be made aware, so they don't feed slack too early

 - the right length of PAS needs to be measured out in advance

 - forgetting to unclip the PAS and falling would be disastrous

Other than that, would anyone see safety concerns with this method ?  Better ideas ?

(My context is returning to leading after an ankle fracture, so I want to minimize the length of potential falls)

Maybe this climbing thing isn't for you.

Tyler Osborne · · Charlotte, NC · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 0

You can probably rodeo clip the draw from the ground. It's fun and looks cool!

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,500

This is literally why stick clips were invented. Get a 6' pole that doubles in length and a super clip and you should be able to clip any draw that you need to from the ground that will keep you off the deck.

Glenn Schuler · · Monument, Co. · Joined Jun 2006 · Points: 1,070

Yer gonna die!

Just climb and put the rope through those clippy things. You are overthinking this.

BrianWS · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 770

Yet even more overthinking and over analyzing. Climb more and pontificate less.

You should be clipping from wherever the intended stance is. Sometimes this means clipping over your head, rarely at your waist. Lead classes taught in gyms always seem to claim the clipping at your waist is somehow safer -- Again, it is very rare to be on a real route where the equipper sets a stance where the bolt is at your chest. Besides, climbing past the intended stance is much riskier than pulling out slack from a comfortable stance.

If you are too short to reach the bolt from the intended stance, consider bringing a stiffened draw with you -- you can wrap the dogbone in tape or create a "splint" of sorts with a twig and tape. This way you can gain a few extra critical inches of reach. Be aware that stiff draws will walk and rotate much more easily. 

George Perkins · · The Dungeon, NM · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 3,104

If you can get the draw on the next bolt up, but don't feel good clipping it, extend the draw by clipping 1-3 additional draws (or a shoulder length runner) to it.  Now you don't need to pull out as much slack.  As you climb up, you can clip it to just the short one and clean the extra draws if you feel you need to.

Having a stiff quickdraw (as mentioned above) can also be helpful to reach bolts just out of reach.  The plastic handles on draws such as these seem to work okay for this purpose, but you could make your own better longer one with coat-hanger wire and tape.

---

If you really need to get to the next bolt and can't reach it, (or climb to it), and can't grab the next draw then clip, you may be able to attempt the following:

1) Go in direct from your belay loop to the bolt you're on, using 1-3 quickdraws you already have.  Stand up.  Can you reach it now?

2) If you still can't reach it, make a loop of ~3 quickdraws clipped together (or a shoulder-length sling if you brought one), clip that to the bolt you're hanging from, stand in the loop.  Now can you reach the next bolt?  On slabby terrain, you may be able to stand on the bolt itself.

Once you get the next bolt clipped, have the belayer "take", undo your mess of extra quickdraws, and resume climbing.  None of this is considered close to "good style" in sport climbing, which may or may not bother you.

---

If those don't work, you either need (a) to climb, (b) a stick, or (c) to bail.

csproul · · Davis, CA · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 25
Michael McNutt wrote:

Climb up to the piece and clip at your waist.  If you blow it at the bolt, you will fall less distance than if you took a huge loop of rope to clip below. 

Not entirely true. The fall distance will be the same. It's just that the starting point and ending point will be higher. Clip from wherever the best clipping holds happen to be, whether this is over your head or at your waist. All else being equal, clipping and your waist will be more efficient and maybe safer.

Eric Chabot · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 20

If you can't clip, grab the draw. If you still can't clip--don't try: you're definitely whipping. Just let go and fall. Practice soft catches with your belayers in the gym. 

Hint: If you are ever above your bolt and say 'take' you are probably doing it wrong.

cyclestupor · · Woodland Park, Colorado · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 68

I don't think I would ever fiddle around with clipping a PAS into a high bolt. 

I agree with others that there are times when clipping above your head is better than trying to climb up and clip at the waist.  Sometimes you have to think about what the route setter was thinking when they placed that bolt.  I find that when a route was bolted ground up on lead I often find bolts placed about 8" above my head when I am standing on a comfortable stance.  In that case it makes sense to clip above my head, the route setter was probably standing at the same stance when he/she drilled the hole, and a fall is highly unlikely since I am so comfy. 

 On the other hand, if you are standing on tiny dime edges, clinging to a shitty sloper, and your next move looks just as precarious, but you feel an urge to clip the bolt above your head because you think this stance is better than the next one will be.   you need to resist that urge.  Think to yourself, would the route setter really intend for me to clip from such a precarious position?  That next move is probably not as bad as you think it is, and there may be a jug just out of sight. 

Route setters are usually pretty thoughtful about where they place bolts.  If it seems like you are on an obvious stable clipping stance, then you probably are.  Just go ahead and make the clip no matter how far up it is.  Otherwise, try to clip between the waist and chest.

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 438

Sometimes the 2nd/3rd bolt have to be high enough to leave deck potential due to rock quality. On those routes where a great stance exists, but the clip is just out of reach, an extended draw that is rigid can be great. Clip this from the stance, clip rope easily and safely, add normal QD after you get up to the bolt.

https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=kong+panic+quickdraw&tbm=shop

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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