Bail ethics/tips


Original Post
Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

It happens to all of us: that 10b you thought you'd do as a cool down turns out to be a sandbag and you're gripped out of your mind, hopelessly staring at the anchors you know you'll never reach.  What do you do?

I've seen a wide variety of bail material and methods, as well as a lot of strong opinions on the subject, so I thought it would be interesting to get a discussion going about peoples' views on bailing.  Do you bring bail gear up with you, and if so, what do you bring and why?

I've seen a lot of people with Quicklinks on their harnesses for bailing, but also noticed a lot of people here hate this.  I've also seen webbing left on bolts, which is annoying to me, as I don't usually bring a knife with me on sport routes.  I also hope that those who use webbing weren't dumb enough to lower off of it...

evan h · · Denver, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 310

Please don't leave quicklinks (or tat) anywhere but on anchors. Buy a stick clip. If you're stuck, get your tail between your legs, go in direct, and call down for that bad boy. Clip the next bolt, yard up, and live to fight another day with all your possessions, just not your pride.

Gummy · · Akron, OH · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 755

Leave anything, someone will come and snag it. So long as it is not a rusted through link someone will come who is stronger and get the bail bootie. I don't discriminate when getting bootie! 

Chris Fedorczak · · Portland, OR · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

Quicklinks are bad form because they can rust shut. Get some cheap, climbing rated bail biners, and remember to never trust your life to just one.

fromtheestuary · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 60
Dustin Stotser · · Springfield, MO · Joined May 2014 · Points: 363

If it 's a sport route, just keep an old biner.  I'm sure by now you've bootied a nice old one that would be perfect.  Quicklinks can rust shut, but are more commonly just a nuisance to remove in general.  What if someone left a bail link on their cool down 12a you wanted to redpoint, but then you got shutdown trying to undo the damn link so you could clip your draw in?

Ben Murphy · · Denver, CO · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 20

That prusik method just blew my mind.  Now you only have to leave 1 biner!  And yes, make sure it's a biner...there's nothing worse than a rusted quicklink on route.

pcass · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 0

Bail biners are like a take a penny leave a penny system, you get some you loose some. don't leave quick links mid route. 

Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 650
pcass wrote:

Bail biners are like a take a penny leave a penny system, you get some you loose some. don't leave quick links mid route. 

End topic.

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Sandbagger Vance wrote:

how acceptable/safe is a load rated spring carabiner?

What on earth are you talking about?

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456

Use a bail biner. You can often find people on here selling old biners for a buck or 2 apiece. At that price they are as cheap or cheaper than quicklink. If you want you can also tape the gate shut so it's a locker.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

You guys feel ok about rapping off of a single bolt + biner?

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
Ted Pinson wrote:

You guys feel ok about rapping off of a single bolt + biner?

Well if you think it´s good enough to whip on where´s the problem? 

will ar · · San Antonio, TX · Joined Jan 2010 · Points: 250
Ted Pinson wrote:

You guys feel ok about rapping off of a single bolt + biner?

Generally yes. In this situation you've likely already fallen, hung, and had a chance to get a close look at the bolt. Keep in mind that on a lot of sport routes when you have 2-3 bolts clipped only last one of those you clipped is really keeping you off the ground.

As a safeguard you can throw a prussic on the other strand while lowering and cleaning your draws to theoretically back you up if the top bolt fails. Also, in a (likely non sport climbing) situation when you've got doubles or a tag line you can rap off a single piece with one rope and stay on belay with the other while cleaning your gear.

anotherclimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 70

I've asked people about this for trad routes. Some bring old, but still safe booty nuts, or used nuts they bought for bailing, some just use what's on their rack and replace it when they can. I don't at this point bring dedicated bail rock pro. But I do bring quick links, spare slings of different lengths or webbing to create a two piece equalized and redundant bail anchor. 

For sport lead routes I bring small locking carabiners, and my prusik cord and use the one locking carabiner plus prusik cord method linked above.

Ancent · · Reno, NV · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 42

I liked what some poster here on MP said a couple years back: (paraphrased) Why carry some dedicated gnarly 'biner you only want to use to bail on, and if it's bad enough that you wouldn't actually climb with it, is it really good for bailing on? Unless you only climb with $10+ carabiners, just use whatever's cheapest on your rack and save yourself from having to have some jenky 'biner always in reserve. Yeah yeah it's not that much extra weight to always have one dedicated bail, but it's also not too bad to just use the most mediocre carabiner you're carrying, say for the one extendable draw your brought. Worst case, it's a few more dollars than you'd want to loose, but as mentioned above, it's a take a penny, leave a penny system. 

Chuck Parks · · Atlanta, GA · Joined Jan 2008 · Points: 2,081

Bail off the shoe biner! That way your whole rack is still intact, and you have to hang your shoes off of something else the rest of the day as a reminder of what a little wuss you are.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190
Jim Titt wrote:

Well if you think it´s good enough to whip on where´s the problem? 

How often do you whip on one bolt with nothing else clipped in?

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Ted Pinson wrote:

How often do you whip on one bolt with nothing else clipped in?

You're not thinking about the situation you proposed - you have other bolts clipped in, you've already fallen on what will become the top bolt, you're already hanging on it.....just lower off after doing whatever shenanigans are needed to leave just a biner, cleaning as you go, using the prusik back-up if you desire.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

Ah, you're right.  You'd only be on one bolt after getting the first bolt, which you could grab with a stick clip if you want to be truly paranoid.

caughtinside · · Oakland CA · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 1,470
Ted Pinson wrote:

You guys feel ok about rapping off of a single bolt + biner?

You wouldn't rap. You would be lowered.  

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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