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Unconventional Tie-in


Original Post
joe Marin · · State College, PA · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

Was at local top-rope crag today; climbed next to party that had climber tie in using 8 on a bight -> screwgate locker -> belay loop.

I figured this practice wasn't safe since (warning: assumption to follow) screwgate lockers can come undone with agitation. 

Anybody have any information regarding whether or not this is a viable practice?

Thanks

Ben Williams · · van · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 30

I've done this before on multipitch in a party of three. I'd also like to hear from people more experienced with this practice on their thoughts 

Dylan Pike · · SLC, UT · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 35

I try to use an auto locker in this scenario. 

Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 871

My girlfriend comes undone when agitated.  

Lockers can get unlocked when the rope runs through them, which it is not doing in this case.  So, it's fine but easily made better.  Add a second biner and it is bomber.

Robert Hall · · North Conway, NH · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 14,130

General rule is to minimize the number of potential failure points.  Thus, adding the locker violates this rule.  That being said, this type of tie-in is often used when you're tieing into the middle of the rope (e.g. 3 climber's on one rope on a glacier or moving on easy rock), but then it is usual to have 2 locking biners (2nd general rule: Don't trust your life to a single point.), gates opposed , more so the screw gates don't rub against each other and unscrew.

I would also question the biner into the belay loop. If using a locking-biner for a mid-rope tie-in, I will use 2 biners and run them through the same harness points I would run the end of the rope. Not that you're likely to die if you use the belay loop, it is just that it is not designed for that.  Also, I'd think, more "flopping around" of the biner in the belay loop ='s more chance for cross loading when/if a fall occurs. 

CORRECTION, ADDED LATER- I checked with Black Diamond...and I was wrong.  They say that when using a locking biner(s) to tie into the middle of the rope that the biner should clip through the belay loop, NOT the rope tie-in loops on the harness. Apparently there's more chance of triaxel loading (i.e. cross-loading) with the biner in the tope tie-ins,...as a few clmbers indicated. 

 

Benjamin Mitchell · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 0

If it was someone bringing out a bunch of non-climbers for a TR session they probably chose this since it's way easier than having to teach 3-4 people how to tie themselves in. I think that's a reasonable level of security, but for what it's worth, it seems the AMGA recommends you use both a locker and a non-locker to attach yourself to the rope. Above This is a video which shows this when cleaning a TR anchor. I also climbed with an AMGA guide when I was new to winter climbing who I seem to recall used a locker and a non-locker to attach to the rope for short roping. 

Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290
Greg D wrote:

My girlfriend comes undone when agitated.  

Lockers can get unlocked when the rope runs through them, which it is not doing in this case.  So, it's fine.  Add a second biner and it is bomber.

A local gym uses this sort of prerigged "tie in" on all their top ropes.

I had the interesting experience of getting to the top of the climb, glancing down, and noticing that the second belay loop on my big gun harness had somehow worked it's way into the twist lock part of the carabineer, partially unlocking it. Both of us checked on the ground. It was locked. So, this happened while climbing. Granted, not many have two belay loops, but it still gave me pause...

Best, OLH

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530

General rule on this method is to use two lockers. One screw gate would make me a little nervous. 

Everett · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 10

One climber belay loop, one rope, one belay device, one locker on the belay device, one belayer belay loop, one belayer.

Is the concern about one tie in locker based on the idea that the climber doesn't have the time to frequently inspect it or maybe even do anything if it's messed up? Versus, say, the belay locker being checkable by a bored but attentive belayer. Have there been accident reports that fault a tie in locker?

Derrick · · Bozeman · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 0

Done this a bunch of times, haven't fallen on it, recently tried this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzIP4IUnqvI) and liked it, might be worth a shot, but you're like for sure gonna die.

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525

I've done this on multipitch climbs in which one person leads and two follow simultaneously, but everyone wants to take their turn leading.  This would otherwise require some untying and tying at each pitch.  When we do this we climb with half ropes and tie in to two autolockers through the harness tie-in points with the gates reversed.

Mitchell Dalton · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

My local gym has 8 on bight > two opposing lockers (NEVER one) > belay loop. Definitely bomber but IMHO it wears out the harness quicker. It takes, like, 30 seconds to tie in. I assume just do it right. 

Beean · · Canmore, AB · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 0

OP, one locker is probably fine and you can add a normal biner with the gate opposed if you're concerned. It's good for quickly swapping the TR for those that don't know how to tie an 8.

A locker to the belay loop is how some people tie in for glacial travel and ridges and similar situations. Some don't trust a single locker for their tie in point so they add a non locker (or locker) as a 'backup'. 

Strangely I've never seen anyone do this with their belay device but maybe I don't climb in the right places.

Jeremy B. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2013 · Points: 0
Beean wrote:

Strangely I've never seen anyone do this with their belay device but maybe I don't climb in the right places.

Well, there's usually lots more stuff likely to scrape against the carabiner when climbing than when belaying.  Having it get unscrewed might be a bit discomfiting, and getting a bit of tie-in loop caught in the nose could be even worse.  Using a second locker is good insurance.

Edit: a quick search only brought up two accidents from using the single-locker method, one in '04 and the next in '10.  So, someone's probably due...

David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 68

If you use two lockers, make sure they're opposite and opposed. Two lockers don't provide much security against unscrewing if a rope running across the gate could unscrew them both in the exact same way. This was how we tied in at the first rock gym I climbed at.

No organization has taken an official stance on autolockers for "tie in" that I know of, but I'd feel pretty safe with a single autolocker as well.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,785
Robert Hall wrote:

I would also question the biner into the belay loop. If using a locking-biner for a mid-rope tie-in, I will use 2 biners and run them through the same harness points I would run the end of the rope. Not that you're likely to die if you use the belay loop, it is just that it is not designed for that.  Also, I'd think, more "flopping around" of the biner in the belay loop ='s more chance for cross loading when/if a fall occurs.  

Wow, so wrong.  The belay loop IS designed to have biners clipped to it.  And clipping through the hard points is the best way there is to have the biners cross loaded.  

Just use the harness the way the manufacturer tells you to and stop trying to out-smart them.

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,325

Get a two step auto locker to solve the problem. 

The likely hood that a single screwlock would come off the harness is extremely low but it only takes once to kill someone. In other words, that setup would make me nervous.

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,490
Lena chita · · Cleveland, OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 745

Under normal circumstances, adding a locker into your tie-in setup does not make sense, adds an extra link in the chain, and you would want to minimize the number of elements in your setup, as a general rule. So this shouldn't be your default setup.

BUT, it is not a ticking bomb that is going to blow up on you any moment, it is safe enough, and I have used it -- in a situation where I was doing stamina laps on toprope. alternating with my partner, and the only way we could keep to the timing of the laps that we wanted to adhere to was to switch over quickly with a figure 8 on a bight + locking 'biner, instead of untying/retying.

ViperScale . · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 240

Only reason to do this on a single pitch is if it was really short and someone was to lazy to pull the rope through after dropping it. Pretty common practice to do this when you have multi people following on the same rope on muti pitch. And when you clip in with a biner you want it on the belay loop not the 2 rope loops.

Ryan Bowen · · Bend, Or · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 85
ViperScale wrote:

 And when you clip in with a biner you want it on the belay loop not the 2 rope loops.


What is the reasoning behind this?  

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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