Slinging Boulders with the Rope


Original Post
BaldyGuerrilla · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 15

Hi guys.  I'm newish (approx 1 yr) to trad and have been doing some high sierra climbing lately.

I typically build all my trad anchors out of the rope. (clove hitch to three or more pieces of gear, equalize and tie a big knot for the master point.)

I'm pretty efficient at doing this and it saves me from having to carry a huge cordelette.  

On a recent climb i ran into 2 scenarios where the best option would have been to sling a large boulder.  

My question is: Is there a good (safe & efficient) method for slinging boulders and tying a master point with the rope?

Or is it a bad idea due to abrasion / sharp edges etc.?

Thanks for the input!  

-BaldyGuerrilla

Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 87

One technique is to pull up some slack, sling it around the boulder (or just walk around it), and then tie into your belay loop and/or the tie-in loop with a biner and a figure-8 on a bight or a clove hitch.  Then belay directly off your belay loop.  Be cognizant of the direction of pull if the follower falls, if on a decent ledge I often sit down to address this.

You need to be wary of sharp edges, but that's true whether you use the rope or cord or a sling.

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 0
Kyle Tarry wrote:

One technique is to pull up some slack, sling it around the boulder (or just walk around it), and then tie into your belay loop and/or the tie-in loop with a biner and a figure-8 on a bight or a clove hitch.  Then belay directly off your belay loop.  Be cognizant of the direction of pull if the follower falls, if on a decent ledge I often sit down to address this.

You need to be wary of sharp edges, but that's true whether you use the rope or cord or a sling.

+1 - What he said. 

You don't need a masterbationpoint.

Tim Neumann · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 0

climb 2 smile · · Sandy, UT · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 135

+1 to all of the above.

What Kyle said is also a very fast way to extend an anchor to the edge of a ledge to see your second and to eliminate rope drag / abrasion over an edge.

You can weave or flick your rope around that boulder, tree or other solid object (beware of loose stuff and sharp edges) to use for pro while climbing.  Just be sure to assess whether or not it will work for the second, will the rope jam, the direction of a fall to make sure the rope will go around the object, and check again for loose and sharp stuff the rope would drag thru or across.

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 136
Tim Neumann wrote:

This except use an alpine butterfly instead of a figure 8 because it is easier to adjust without untying the knot and it is good for a load in all three directions

BaldyGuerrilla · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 15
Tim Neumann wrote:

Slightly confused here, is he belaying with a munter?  

Also, what if you are slinging the corner of a huge boulder where you CAN reach around but can't walk through.  (hope this makes sense, hard to explain) thanks.

Jordan Palamos · · Eugene, OR · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 10

Fine if you are swinging leads, but if you are going to lead the next pitch it'll be really inefficient.

Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 615
BaldyGuerrilla wrote:

Slightly confused here, is he belaying with a munter?  

Also, what if you are slinging the corner of a huge boulder where you CAN reach around but can't walk through.  (hope this makes sense, hard to explain) thanks.

Yes, a munter appears to be what's being used in the cartoon.  You can use any "guide mode" device place of the munter shown here.  Examples include ATC Guide, Reverso, Gri Gri, Gi Gi, etc.

If you're using a boulder that you can't walk around or throw a loop of rope around... that's when you use a cordalette! To save weight and bulk on long routes, I typically carry one cordalette and one quadruple length dyneema sling between my partner and I.  The leader carries whichever is not being used at the current belay anchor.  If you are doing longer alpine rock climbs, I think at least one cordalette for the team is a smart move - it's the first thing to get left behind if retreat is necessary.

BaldyGuerrilla · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 15
Jordan Palamos wrote:

Fine if you are swinging leads, but if you are going to lead the next pitch it'll be really inefficient.

True.  Good point.

Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 87
BaldyGuerrilla wrote:

Slightly confused here, is he belaying with a munter?  

Yes.  Why is that confusing?

Also, what if you are slinging the corner of a huge boulder where you CAN reach around but can't walk through.  (hope this makes sense, hard to explain) thanks.

Just pass a bight of rope around the boulder (or tree).  Pull enough slack through, tie a knot (figure-8 on a bight or otherwise) and clip it (either to the other side of the rope or to your harness.  It will look exactly the same as the picture, except with the left tail going back around the boulder/tree.

As many have mentioned, there are limitations to this, such as if you are not swapping leads, or escaping the belay if you go directly to your belay loop.  Assess accordingly.

Firestone · · California · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 449

I like to walk around and tie a knot on a bight with the rope on both sides of the boulder. Isolates the belayer from the system without using and extra carabiner. (belay device omitted for clarity)

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 136
BaldyGuerrilla wrote:

True.  Good point.

Still, depending on the size of the boulder and whether you carry a cordallete, using the rope may be your only option for slinging the boulder. I'd much rather use the rope block leading than use half the slings on my rack, if I even have that many when I'm at the top of the pitch. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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